How to Help a Floundering Member or Student
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How to Help a Floundering Member

Man Facing Wall

By Karyn Greenstreet

Is your group member or student struggling in your program? Are they falling short to the point that they’re dropping out?

Unfortunately, you will run into these problems during the course of a extended program, whether it’s a mastermind group, educational program, or mentoring program.

Any program designed to help people make changes in their personal or professional lives has the same challenge: change and growth is hard. It’s likely that your group members will hit a brick wall at some point during the time you’re working together.

The good news is that you can be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms, and nip the problem in the bud!

Signs and symptoms of a struggling mastermind group member:

Goals:

  • No accountability or goal reporting
  • Changing goals frequently
  • Not making progress towards set goals

Planning and Implementation:

  • Working on other tasks that will not produce results or are not geared toward goals
  • Doing the right thing at the wrong time; doesn’t understand how to prioritize tasks and/or projects
  • They say they have no money to implement the plan. (It’s a dead giveaway when they say they have no money, but take expensive vacations all over the world.)

Group Participation

  • Not engaging with the group or with you as the coach/facilitator/trainer
  • Says they got what they needed from the group and now wants out before the end of the program

Administrative:

  • In arrears with their program payments
  • Not showing up for meetings or classes
  • Not participating in online message forums or group projects
  • Not doing their homework
  • Not responding to emails or phone calls

Emotional:

  • Blaming forces outside themselves for all delays, failures, etc. Not taking responsibility for where they have fallen short.
  • Self-imploding and having a lot of drama around the change they’re trying to create
  • Resisting the change: procrastinating and self-sabotaging the work they need to do

While this list may seem daunting, even overwhelming, there is a silver lining. There are steps you can take to help your group member get back on track and be successful.

How to help them:

  • Set boundaries by reminding them that this is a commitment, and that they agreed to complete the full program. Remember, they want to get out of the discomfort that change brings, and the easiest way is to get out of your program.
  • Remind them that it’s common to struggle with change, and that it’s a phase many people go through.
  • Let them know it’s helpful to let others know when they’re struggling. That’s what the group is for.
  • Get them to focus on 90 days at a time. Instead of huge goals that feel overwhelming, what are smaller benchmarks and tasks that can be completed in the next 90 days?
  • Work within “growth rings” strategy. No one grows in a huge leap. Instead, we grow like a tree grows, one success layered upon another success until we’re at our peak.
  • Ask them to agree to weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check-ins can help keep them accountable and focused. Set pre-determined dates for when these check-ins will occur. Don’t be afraid to hold their feet to the fire; don’t allow them to postpone check-ins.
  • Help them to focus on what’s important. Some people simply aren’t good at weeding through a big To Do list to determine what to work on next. Help them unravel their To Do list and keep focused on what’s most important without getting distracted or sidetracked.
  • Take good notes during meetings so you can keep track of their progress and situation.
  • Pay attention to attendance and participation levels in group meetings. Watch for any signs that they are backsliding.

Change your group member’s course from struggling to successful by paying attention and taking charge of the situation. Remember, their success is your success.


6 thoughts on “How to Help a Floundering Member”

  1. WOW! This is right on target, of course. Excellent and specific signs – and strategies. Thanks. Appreciate the straightforwardness and practicality.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      You’re welcome, Meggin. It’s better to know in advance that a member is having a hard time rather than wait for them to tell you they want to leave your group program or class.

  2. There is a seasoned concept about dealing with performance issues that applies to the excellent suggestions in this post. The concept? People who can’t and people who won’t. When people look or feel like they can’t perform, the 9 suggestions to help them in this post would probably solve the performance issue. Of course, nothing will help people who won’t do the work!

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      We can inspire people, Gary, but we can’t motivate them, right? 🙂 They have to be willing to do the work in order to grow and create what they want.

  3. Excellent tips, Karyn! I’m sharing them with my Get Clients Now! facilitators.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      I’m glad you found them helpful, C.J.!

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